2016-11-10 / Obituaries

Dennis ‘Cap’ Smither

Dennis “Cap” Smither, a member of a pioneering Mariposa family, died of natural causes last week at his home in Gardnerville, Nev. He was 78 years old.

He lived most of his life on the road named for his family, on land Homesteaded by his grandfather.

He was called Cap for so long that even some of his friends didn’t know his real name, and in fact for some time, neither did he. Dennis was his middle name. He learned his given first name, Loyal, after an ancestor, only by accident when he applied for a passport late in his adult life.

His home, on Smither Road, was originally settled by his grandfather Thomas in the late 1800s.

Thomas was succeeded by Cap’s father, Raymond. The family lived in what is now a tool shed while they built their home, which still stands.

As was true for many of Mariposa’s first Europeans, the family did backbreaking hand labor to make a living, clearing the forest to make what is now pasture, carrying household water from a spring.

Cap was born Sept. 3, 1938 in Merced. He worked first for PG&E, then the US Forest Service, before joining what is now CAL FIRE in 1961. He retired from fire service in 1992 and devoted himself full-time to fishing, gardening and hunting.

His brother and sister both passed away before him, his brother in the Korean war. He was also preceded in death by his parents, Raymond Smither and Muriel Crumb Smither.

He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Barbara; daughters Deborah Gray and Sarita Sellers; two stepsons, Mark Scott and Keith Kreitter; seven grandchildren, William, Aretta and Raymond Sellers, Mark, Halie, Lacie and Christopher Scott; and two greatgrandchildren.

A remembrance of his life will be held at a later date.

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I unfortunately never did get

I unfortunately never did get to meet my uncle Cap. Although I heard alot about him. I send my sympathy to my Auntie B. My deepest Sympathy, Gwenn Fox

I'm happy to say I got back

I'm happy to say I got back in touch with Cap about 10 years ago, and enjoyed talking with him at MCHS alumni events. I'm pretty sure he knew his first name since it was printed in his high school graduation program, although it was listed as his middle name. http://mariposa-alumni.org/images/mchs217.jpg

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